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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—BlackBerry bids, Bangladesh strikes, Germany wants privacy, reconsidering the guillotine

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Airline merger conditions. US regulators want the parent companies of American Airlines and US Airways to sell off landing slots at crowded airports before approving the creation of the world’s biggest carrier.

Syrian peace talk conditions. The Syrian opposition rejects any Iranian participation and says it won’t attend talks in Geneva unless there is a clear timeframe for President Bashar al-Assad to leave power.

BlackBerry bids. Today’s the deadline for takeover offers to rival Fairfax Financial Holdings’ tentative $4.7 billion deal. Cerberus Capital Management is considering a joint bid (paywall) with Qualcomm and BlackBerry co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, and there is even a rumor that Facebook could weigh in.

Mohammed Morsi’s trial begins. The ousted president of Egypt faces charge of incitement to murder; he is not expected to attend the trial.

SAC’s guilty plea. The $15 billion hedge fund run by Steve Cohen is expected to plead guilty to securities fraud (paywall) and pay more than $1 billion in fines to settle an on-going federal investigation.

Strike in Bangladesh. A three-day nationwide opposition protest starts today, the latest move in a campaign to force prime minister Sheikh Hasina to install a neutral caretaker government before upcoming elections.

HSBC results. Europe’s biggest bank is expected to post a 10% increase in quarterly profits as it benefits from cost cuts, but worries persist about its future profitability.

Over the weekend

China’s non-manufacturing sector accelerates. The service purchasing manager’s index (PMI) rose to 56.3 in October from 55.4 in September, the fastest pace in a year.

JP Morgan hiring probe widens. The bank, which is already being investigated for hiring family members of prominent Chinese officials, is now under scrutiny in South Korea, Singapore and India as well.

Germany and Brazil demanded privacy. The two countries presented the UN with a draft resolution calling for an end to excessive electronic surveillance, data collection and other invasions of privacy. No countries are named, but UN diplomats said it was clearly aimed at the US.

The Pakistani Taliban picked a new chief. Asmatullah Shaheen has reportedly been appointed as interim head of the insurgent group after its former leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed by a US drone strike on Oct. 31.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on Brazil’s fears of becoming a de facto Chinese colony. “Some of the outrage probably stems from the fact that Chinese investment hasn’t resulted in deeper trade ties that boost Brazilian manufacturing, as Brazilians had hoped. On first glance, it might appear that Brazil is ahead, since the country runs a trade surplus with China. But some 80% of Brazil’s China exports still come from three commodities: iron ore, oil and soy. China, meanwhile, has expanded the range of products and services it exports to Brazil.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Snowden did Obama a favor. The NSA leaker showed that the lessons of Sept. 11 have yet to be addressed (paywall).

Capital punishment should be done by guillotine. It’s quicker and less painful than lethal injection, and leaves organs usable for medical needs.

It’s, like, totally ok to say “like.” It allows people to dramatize their speech and gives anecdotes some oomph.

Obamacare’s bungled rollout has undermined Obama’s second term. No one is talking about immigration reform or federal stimulus anymore.

Surprising discoveries

Amazon for inmates. ships soft drinks, cigarettes, canned food and cassette tapes in packages that meet stringent prison guidelines.

Aging coconut crisis. The trees that are a mainstay of rural Asian economies, many of which were planted after World War II, are declining in productivity.

In-utero name that tune. Babies who heard a lullaby during the third trimester recognized the song months after birth.

An ad agency is trying to make broccoli happen. Hey, it worked for kale.   

Tesco goes Minority Report. Cameras above cash registers at Tesco gas stations will scan your eyeballs to identify your gender, age and how long you look at ads.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, retinal scans and trendy vegetables to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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